When spring arrives, so do the sniffles, sneezes, and itchy eyes. For many people, these are the hallmark symptoms of seasonal allergies. But when they don’t go away after a few weeks, those symptoms could be a sign of sinusitis. Sinusitis is another condition that affects millions of people each year, and we see quite a few of them at Del Rey MD, yet many people often confuse it as just another allergy flare-up.
What Is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is the inflammation of the sinuses, which are hollow cavities in the bones around your nose. Viruses, bacteria, or other environmental triggers like pollution and allergens can cause it. It is entirely possible that those pesky seasonal allergies could cause it. But the condition can also manifest with more complicated or unique symptoms, including fatigue, postnasal drip, headaches, bad breath, and more severe facial pain.
There are two types of sinusitis: viral and bacterial. Viral sinusitis is usually caused by a cold or flu virus and usually resolves on its own within 7-10 days. In contrast, bacterial sinusitis is caused by bacteria in the upper respiratory tract. Treatment typically involves antibiotics and may require longer treatment periods than the viral variety.
How Can You Tell the Difference?
It can be difficult to distinguish between seasonal allergies and sinusitis because both conditions share common symptoms, such as runny nose, congestion, and headaches. However, a few key differences can help you determine which condition you’re dealing with.
For one, seasonal allergies typically cause itchiness in the nose and throat. Additionally, people with seasonal allergies may experience watery eyes. Sinusitis can manifest with congestion, nasal pressure, and a runny nose. But the condition also prevents with with more unusual and trademark symptoms such as bad breath, fever, and fatigue.
If your symptoms last more than a few weeks without improvement with regular allergy treatments, it is best to speak with your provider. Sinusitis can be a painful condition when left untreated. Book an appointment with the Del Ray MD team at one of our three convenient locations in Marina Del Rey (310-823-4444), Long Beach (562-774-0844), or Bakersfield (661-695-8627).